Song facts: Paperback Writer, Rain
Paperback Writer is a Beatles' song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1966. It was released as the A-side to their 11th single with John Lennon's Rain as the B-side. According to a 1972 interview with Playboy, Lennon admitted the song was mainly of Paul's creation.
"Paperback Writer is son of Day Tripper, but it is Paul's song. Son of Day Tripper meaning a rock 'n' roll song with a guitar lick on a fuzzy, loud guitar." - John Lennon
McCartney was allegedly told by one of his aunts that The Beatles wrote too many love songs and he should write about something else. After seeing Ringo reading a book Paul came up with the idea for the song.
John Lennon's ambitious B-side was influenced by the band's indulgences with LSD. Lennon has maintained that Rain is the first song to feature backward vocals. It was certainly the first Beatles' song.
"After we'd done the session on that particular song—it ended at about four or five in the morning—I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. And I was sort of very tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. And I liked it better. So that's how it happened," - John Lennon
The Beatles recorded Paperback Writer and Rain on April 13th, 14th and 16th of 1966. For the vocal arrangements the band were heavily influenced by the harmonic sounds of the Beach Boys. The Beatles had recently been given a copy of Pet Sounds which helped them shape the iconic vocal harmonies synonymous with Paperback Writer.
McCartney's bass guitar is heavily boosted throughout the song; giving for the first time on a Beatles' record, a prominence the bass had hitherto been unaccustomed to.
Rain is most notable for its use of backward vocals and is considered by many to be The Beatles' finest B-side. Lennon accidentally played some of his vocals backwards and liked how they sounded, so he took it to the others and they ran with it.
Personnel - Paperback Writer
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, lead guitar, bass
- John Lennon – backing vocal, tambourine
- George Harrison – backing vocal, rhythm guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
Personnel - Rain
- John Lennon – lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – backing vocals, bass
- George Harrison – backing vocals, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
Paperback Writer and Rain were released as a single in the US on May 30th 1966 and June 10th in the UK. Paperback Writer reached number one in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and West Germany.
The Beatles filmed promotional videos for Paperback Writer and Rain in May of 1966. These clips were distributed to various outlets worldwide to promote the songs.
The band were spending much more time in the studio than in previous years and saw the promo videos as a way of travelling and promoting their music without actually needing to fly anywhere and wade through the mayhem of Beatlemania.
These promotional films are largely seen as the beginning of MTV.
Top of the Pops
On June 16th 1966 The Beatles made their first live appearance on BBC's Top of the Pops, miming Paperback Writer and Rain.